Skip to main content

Bahutva Karnataka calls for coordinated all-India civil society response to counter hate

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* 

Several citizens representing and belonging to a wider spectrum of civil society participated in a virtual National Consultation on Sunday April 24, 2022, to address and to plan actions regarding the targeted violence, hate and discrimination which has been taking place across the country. The consultation was initiated and under the aegis of ‘Bahutva Karnataka’. A preparatory note for the consultation said:
“The year 2022 has seen a sharp upsurge in organised violence by Hindutva groups, especially against Muslims. The ‘Sulli Deals’ and ‘Bulli Bai deals’ which attacked the dignity and freedom of Muslim women, the genocidal calls in the Dharam Sansads, the misinterpretation of the HC’s orders in Karnataka and the subsequent harassment of Muslim girls, calls for social and economic boycott to the Ramnavami violence.
“There have been open calls for mass rape of Muslim women, all in the presence of the police. Prior to this there was also violence inflicted against the Christian community in several states and unconstitutional anti-conversion bills have been passed in various states. Atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis have also been steadily rising even as the conviction rates remain poor.
“What is also of concern is that the Sangh Parivar is using youth from marginalised and oppressed communities as foot soldiers in their project of hatred, as was evidenced by how they provoked students of government schools into hatred when the Hijab matter was being heard”
.
The outcome of the consultation was a national call to address and “end the hate” which has engulfed the nation today!
The painful fact is that it has been happening with frightening regularity: slowly, steadily, surreptitiously yet incessantly! These past weeks has seen it unfolding in more dangerous and vicious ways which are intended to destroy the democratic fabric of Indian society perhaps to a point of no return!
Hate which is unleashed to demonize, denigrate, discriminate, dehumanize the ‘other’. In the face of all this, we need to urgently listen and respond to those who cry, “end the hate!”
The Jahangirpuri demolition, with bulldozers, which took place recently, in brazen insensitivity, till the Supreme Court intervened, is just the tip of the iceberg. Any citizen, with a little intelligence, will easily conclude that the act was not about illegal structures (there are millions of illegal structures in Delhi and elsewhere) but the way a policy is being abused to demolish a minority community.
Several thinking citizens of the country: academics, lawyers, human rights defenders, corporate leaders, intellectuals and other members of civil society unequivocally say, “end the hate!”
In a hard-hitting article ‘What the Communal flare-ups manifest’ in the Hindustan Times (April 22, 2022) well-known media personality Rajdeep Sardesai writes:
“The impunity of their actions in recent times — be it organising hate-spewing dharam sansads, spearheading violent gau-rakshak movements or commanding divisive love jihad campaigns — are aimed at resurrecting their political equity in the crowded Hindutva marketplace. That the VHP-Bajrang Dal chose to defiantly go ahead with a shobha yatra on Hanuman Jayanti in Delhi, despite not having police permission, stems from their conviction that their benefactors in power will ultimately protect their interests”.
Sardesai goes on to say that “a deliberate attempt is being made to find polarising issues at othering Muslims-hijab, halal meat, azaan- the list is growing.” He is simply voicing the sentiments of several well-meaning citizens of the country who want the hate to end now!
Among these is Dushyant Dave, one of the finest legal brains of the country and a former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association; in a statement(post/tweet) which went viral on social media Dave says:
“There are 731 unauthorised colonies in Delhi with lakhs of people, and you pick up one colony because you target one community. The police and the civil authorities are bound by the Constitution and not by the orders of a BJP leader.”
The politics of hate, discrimination and revenge are there for all to see. Such a thing was perhaps unthinkable in the country a decade ago! Now it seems to have become an “in-thing”, a meek acceptance! Before it is too late there must be a public outrage to “end the hate!”
The international media is simply aghast at what is happening in India today; editorials and op-eds across the world and in key global languages are literally appalled by the way democracy is being destroyed in India, presided over by a Prime Minister and his fascist regime.
Their message is loud and clear: India is now referred to as a ‘banana republic’ where law and order seems to have disappeared. The warning by all is, before it’s too late, to “end the hate!” UKs prestigious ‘The Guardian’ in a lead article says:
“The surge in communal violence has sparked concern among many in India who fear the country is becoming more polarised than ever along Hindu-Muslim lines. For many, the blame has been directed at the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party, led by the prime minister, Narendra Modi.
“The BJP is accused of overseeing a religiously divisive agenda and emboldening hostility towards India’s 200 million Muslims, relegating them to second-class citizens. Meanwhile, Hindu vigilante groups such as VHP have been allowed to operate freely and have increasingly begun to take the law into their own hands”.

The equally prestigious and analytical ’Washington Post’ also does not mince words:
“The incident was just the latest in a string of clashes between Hindus and Muslims that have shaken India in recent weeks. They have happened on different days, in different parts of the country, but there is a pattern to them: Groups of young Hindu nationalists join peaceful celebrations during religious holidays, then lead rowdy processions into Muslim neighborhoods, sparking violent confrontations.
“Adding to the sense of foreboding, observers say, are a rash of incendiary speeches over the past year by right-wing leaders, including a priest’s appeal to fellow Hindus in December to pick up weapons and ‘conduct a cleanliness drive' that would kill off Muslims. The cleric, Yati Narsinghanand, was accused of hate speech and arrested. While out on bail, he made another appearance this month in north Delhi, near Jahangirpuri, where he warned the audience that nearly half of India’s Hindus would be killed if the country elected a Muslim prime minister”.

Christians in India have also been at the receiving end of a meticulously planned and executed campaign of hate. Every effort is being made to target Christians and to portray them as all out converters, who are trying to destabilise the country.
The ruling regime with its fascist divide-and-rule strategy has succeeded in some places, in putting a wedge between different Christian denominations and also between Christians and Muslims. It is ‘not you but them!’ kind of divisive game!
How else could one explain that some Christian prelates are naive enough to use insensitive and un-Christian terms like ‘love jihad’ -- terminology straight out of the glossary of the Sangh Parivar.
Fortunately, India still has a vibrant civil society group! Campaigns against hate speech are emerging and converging from all over. Webinars and physical meetings have taken place and continue to do so. There is a groundswell of support and the numbers are growing. The underlying message is clear “end the hate!”. Most just say ‘enough is enough’ and demand the hate to stop now! But mere words are not enough.
Many of the hate mongers continue to do so with impunity and have cloaked themselves with immunity. They know full well that they are just delivering for the ruling regime what they actually want! There is, they are convinced, absolutely nothing in the law-and-order mechanism which can ever touch them.
It is so obvious that there is no political will to stop the agenda of hate which is being mainstreamed in the country. On the contrary, there is every effort from the highest seats of power to instigate and foment hate and divisiveness everywhere. They know it pays rich political dividends at election time! With polarisation, majoritarianism naturally increases!
The fact that ‘hate crimes’ are increasing in India is incontrovertible. ‘Hate crimes’ are simply crimes that are hostile and prejudiced in their manner, when targeting a person merely as a result of their: disability, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation and transgender identity.
We see this happening all the time in India today! The perpetrators are well known, the victims are obvious. It goes without saying that the targeting of minorities in India today is a well-planned political agenda toward the General Elections of 2024 (and some of the State Elections just before that).
Above all, it is the grand scheme towards 2025 when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will complete hundred years of its existence and in their dreams the establishment of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ The writing is on the wall. The signs are ominous! Will the people of India arise and take up the challenge to preserve the rich pluralistic and democratic fabric of the nation?
The preparatory note for the April 24 consultation also stated:
“A nation-wide, coordinated response from civil society to counter this is much required before the hate engulfs our land fully. We need to demand that the government functions as per the constitution and we need to demand accountability of the political and administrative machinery and of the constitutional courts.
“ is a call for all of us to get together and get on to the streets to defend our constitution, to stand in solidarity with all those oppressed and say that we will not tolerate the targeted Hindutva violence.
“Some of the ideas could be to have coordinated nation-wide protests on the same day, co-ordinated processes by which we express solidarity to all those who have been hit hard by the violence and other actions. Importantly we all need to be in conversation about how we resist this together”.

A beginning is made!
The people of India would do well to take a cue from Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King who says, “Darkness cannot drive darkness; Light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; Love can do that.”
Or from another stalwart Nelson Mandela who says, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite”. Hate has never succeeded; only love triumphs. We need to “end the hate and now!”
---
Human rights, peace and reconciliation activist/writer

Comments

TRENDING

'Halt Covid-19 vaccination drive': Indian doctors join campaign across 36 nations

By Rosamma Thomas*  A group of Spanish doctors first got together to call for a halt to the Covid-19 vaccinations, and doctors from other countries too later joined them – there are now over 12,000 doctors from India, Portugal, Canada, Hungary, South Africa, Israel and a host of other nations who have issued a call to halt vaccinations. On September 10, a group of Indian doctors came together to address the press over a webinar to explain why they thought the vaccination drive should end forthwith. Dr Amitav Banerjee, who after a career as an epidemiologist in the Indian Army now teaches at a private medical college in Pune, said there was no longer a medical emergency. Children are at low risk of infection, and there is good reason to halt vaccination and conduct proper research, given the high number of adverse events. There is a sudden and poorly explained spike in the number of young and healthy people dying. While it may be impossible to attribute deaths entirely to the vaccinatio

Did Mother Teresa trivialise poverty? 'You are suffering, that means Jesus is kissing you'

By Harsh Thakor*  The world commemorated the 25th death anniversary of Mother Teresa on September 5. Whatever her flaws, she rendered service to humanity in regions almost untranscended, resembling the relentless spirit of the waves of an ocean. Irrespective of community or religion, she offered her service. Even those not drawn by sainthood revere the role of Mother Teresa. For 68 years, she had worked selflessly and tirelessly in India and elsewhere in the world, taught the destitute, healed the sick, fed and clothed the poor, cared for abandoned children, housed lepers and those afflicted with HIV/AIDS and offered dignity in death to desolate persons abandoned by family and society. Mother Teresa was born in Skopje in 1910 to an Albanian family as AnjezĂ« Gonxhe Bojaxhiu. She became wedded to religious vows at an early age and moved to India to join the missionary work of the Catholic Church. Heartshaken by the misery faced by the Indian masses, in 1950 she set up her own

Tracing roots of Hindutva Zionism: cannon fodder for 'warped' nationalist pretensions

By Shamsul Islam*  Those who believe in a world free of hegemonic ethno-nationalism, racism, religious bigotry and hatred have rightly taken note of Zionism and its ally Christian Zionism, major perpetrators of ethnic cleansing of ‘Others’. However, the civilized world with its core belief in multi-culturalism and peaceful co-existence is oblivious to a no less dangerous threat to the present human civilization: the Hindutva Zionism. As the term reads it is part of the Hindutva world-view which stands for an exclusive Hindu India minus Muslims and Christians. The other religions like Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism will have no independent status but treated as part of Hinduism. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS; National Volunteer Organization) is the most prominent flag-bearer of the Hindutva politics whose cadres presently rule India, the largest democracy in the world. RSS was founded by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar (1889-1940) in 1925 who was disillusioned with the Indian freedom st

Regional parties, anti-Congress progressives, civil society groups 'joining' Bharat Jodo

By Harshavardhan Purandare, Sandeep Pandey*  The Congress party declared Bharat Chhodo (Quit India) movement against the British regime in 1942. The Congress party has now launched a movement Bharat Jodo (Connecting and Uniting India) against the Modi regime in 2022. Indian people have had a journey of 80 years since Mahatma Gandhi gave that Quit India call to the British and we have to agree that we stand most divided in our modern history when Rahul Gandhi is giving this Bharat Jodo call to the nation. And back then, Congress was a thriving idealistic political movement against the British rulers and now it is an ever weakening political organization electorally defeated several times. However, it is India at stake, not just the Congress party. That is why so many regional political parties, civil society organizations, traditional anti-Congress progressive forces like socialists and communists, intellectuals and civil servants have declared their support and are proactively partici

Shocking? No Covid vaccine trials conducted on pregnant, lactating women: RTI reply

By Rosamma Thomas*  A Right to Information applicant who sought details of safety trials conducted in India on pregnant and lactating women for three Covid vaccines in use in India – Covishield, Covaxin and ZyCov-D -- was shocked to learn from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) that Serum Institute, manufacturer of Covishield, and Cadila Healthcare, manufacturer of the ZyCov-D vaccine, had not sought permission for such trials.  Bharat Biotech, manufacturer of Covaxin, had sought permission for trial on pregnant women and later withdrawn its application. This response , provided after the applicant was initially unsatisfied with the response and went in appeal, is from the joint drugs controller, CDSCO. It was dated September 13, 2022. One researcher closely following the vaccine rollout, however, is of the opinion that the lack of a trial on pregnant and lactating women is a blessing; potential trial participants and their unborn babies thus escaped harm. Aruna Ro

Grave error? Scholar blames ex-Gujarat babu for anti-Christian riots 'citing fake report'

By Rajiv Shah  A few days back, I received a message from one of the finest former Gujarat government bureaucrats, PG Ramrakhiani, a 1964 batch IAS official, who retired in November 2000. I would often interact with him in 1997-99, even later, after I was sent to Gandhinagar as a Times of India man to cover Sachivalaya. Those were turbulent times. Shankarsinh Vaghela was the Gujarat chief minister, under attack from two sides – from the BJP, which he had left to form a separate breakaway party, Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP), one one hand, and the Congress, which was supporting him from outside, on the other. Ramrakhiani, in his message, referred to the book authored by Ghanshyam Shah and Jan Breman, both top-notch scholars who have known Gujarat in and out. Called “Gujarat, Cradle and Harbinger of Identity Politics: India’s Injurious Frame of Communalism”, I reviewed the book in January 2022.  It claims that Muslims in Gujarat have been turned into “new untouchables”, thanks to the Hin

Excess to cheetah in Kuno to increase 'woes' of local people, 'disturb' wildlife balance

Bharat Dogra*  The release of eight cheetahs into the Kuno National Park ( Madhya Pradesh) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 17, although accompanied by a media blitz, has raised several questions. The animals were flown from Namibia to Gwalior and from there they were taken to the release site in a helicopter. Official sources have stated that this is the first time a large carnivorous species has been moved across continents for establishing a new population. This first release will be followed by others under this project. However, precisely for this reason, it is important to be cautious because if such translocations have been generally avoided in the past, there may have been reasons for this and at the same time we do not have much learning experiences from the past. The Cheetah became extinct in India in 1952, although this very fast moving animal is still remembered in the folklore of many areas. Hence the first impulse is to say that trying to introduce and revive

Introducing non-native cheetahs is 'not equivalent' to restoring pride in the nation

By Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay*  The Cheetahs from the African continent has finally been introduced to India by the Indian Prime Minister on his 72nd birthday. The process had started with the previous Government in 2009. However, the Supreme Court clearance was pending owing to the objection by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) plea to reintroduce cheetahs. Finally the clearance was obtained in January 2020 and thereafter Kuno National Park (KNP) was chosen for the reintroduction of first set of Southeast African Cheetahs. In the near future, depending upon the success story of the current reintroduction, more cheetahs from South Africa may also be introduced. This exercise has generated a lot of interest among various stakeholders with opinions on both sides galore. It is important to pose some questions that surround the whole exercise. Let us evaluate some of these arguments. The first set of arguments are quite detached from the issues of conservation as they most

'Military diplomacy': US praises Bangladesh Army for leadership role in UN operations

By Kamal Uddin Mazumder* As the Indo-Pacific region represents the world’s economic and strategic center of gravity, the Indian Ocean today is becoming the centerpiece of all geo-strategic play. Cooperation in the region is crucial to implementing the international community’s global agenda, including achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Major powers like the US have enhanced and deepened their strategic engagement and leadership roles with countries in the region. The Indo-Pacific Army Management Seminar, or IPAMS, is a U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) initiated conference that is aimed at facilitating and enhancing interactions among the armies of the Indo-Pacific region. This year's 46th Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS)-2022, co-hosted by the Bangladesh Army and US Army Pacific (USARPAC), concluded in Dhaka. The objective of IPAMS is to promote peace and stability in the region through mutual understanding, dialogue, and friendship. It is the largest confer

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".